It’s that sad time of year again–when our spring interns start leaving us for their summer pursuits. As CJFE’s Research and Publications Assistant, Francine Navarro has been an invaluable addition to the CJFE team for the past three months. Her graphic design skills, smart infographics and informative videos have made our website far more engaging, while her research and critical writing skills have added in-depth content and analysis for key free expression issues in Rwanda and Central African Republic, as well as aided in the production of our annual Review of Free Expression in Canada. (Not to mention her foodie ways that have helped to broaden the office’s culinary horizons…) We will miss Francine dearly, and we know that you will too, but don’t worry too much – Francine has promised that her multimedia talents will remain devoted to CJFE in the future, so there is more great work to come! In typical CJFE style, we took Francine’s last day for her to reflect on her time here at CJFE and share some of her thoughts below. What made you want to work with CJFE? This internship with CJFE seemed like it would bring me another step closer to my dream of working in the field of human rights research. It gave me a chance to work in an intellectually stimulating environment with people who are informed about current events and whose work makes a tangible impact in Canada and abroad. Also, the chance to spend a few months in the food utopia that is Toronto’s Queen St. West was a perk I couldn’t resist. What have you learned about free expression from your time here? Thanks to my work at CJFE, I became more aware of threats to free expression beyond physical and coercive attacks against journalists. A lot can be said about the state of free expression in a country based on the existence and quality of its access to information laws, anti-SLAPP legislation, and whistleblower protection regime. I am definitely leaving CJFE with a more well-rounded understanding of what qualifies as a threat to free expression and what has to be done to protect free expression, even in established democracies like Canada. What is the project you worked on during your internship that you are the most proud of? I am most proud of my Q&A with Canadian editorial cartoonist Brian Gable, who illustrated the cover art for the 2013-14 Review of Free Expression in Canada. I find my work feels more rewarding when I get to connect with other people, and this project gave me the unexpected opportunity to get in touch with and learn about the person behind the editorial cartoons printed in The Globe and Mail. The standard Q&A format didn’t seem to be the best way to showcase his work and insights, so I took on the challenge of creating a more visually engaging profile of the cartoonist. I was really by touched the positive feedback it received, and I’m glad I could put a name and a voice to one of the many people who helped bring the Review to life. What are you going to miss the most? It is always the people I miss the most at the end of a meaningful experience. The best part of my day was being surrounded by exceptionally dedicated, informed, and articulate colleagues who continually inspired me. What are you up to next? I’m excited to start a graduate degree in Development Studies at York University this September. In the meantime, you can find me hanging out with my canine soul mate, a one-year-old Cockapoo named Rafiki. Anything else you want to add? I can’t thank everyone at CJFE and IFEX enough for making me feel more than just a temporary face in the office. Throughout my internship, I really felt like I was part of a supportive and energetic team, and I sincerely hope we stay in touch in the future.
Stay in touch with Francine on Twitter at @francinenav
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